World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

South Australian English

Article Id: WHEBN0001986406
Reproduction Date:

Title: South Australian English  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: South Australia, Western Australian English, Australian English, Culture of South Australia, List of dialects of the English language
Collection: Australian English, Culture of South Australia, South Australia
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

South Australian English

South Australian English is the collective name given to the varieties of English spoken in the Australian state of South Australia. As with the other regional varieties within Australian English, these have distinctive vocabularies. To a lesser degree, there are also some differences in phonology (pronunciation).

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation and the Macquarie Dictionary state that there are three localised, regional varieties of English in South Australia: Adelaide English, Eyre and Yorke Peninsula English, South East South Australia English and Northern South Australia English. While there are many commonalities, each has its own variations in vocabulary.[1]


  • Vocabulary 1
  • Phonology 2
  • See also 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5


While some of the words attributed to South Australians are used elsewhere in Australia, many genuine regional words are used throughout the state. Some of these are German in origin, reflecting the origins of many early settlers. Such was the concentration of German speakers in and around the Barossa Valley, it has been suggested they spoke their own dialect of German, known as "Barossa German". The influence of South Australia's German heritage is evidenced by the adoption into the dialect of certain German or German-influenced vocabulary.

One such local word with German origins is "butcher", the name given to a 200 ml (7 imp fl oz) beer glass, which is believed to be derived from the German becher, meaning a cup or mug.[2] "Butcher" is more commonly attributed to publicans around Adelaide who kept these smaller glasses for abattoir workers coming in straight from work for a drink before heading home.[3]

Processed luncheon meat is known as fritz in South Australia, whereas in New South Wales, Queensland, Tasmania and Victoria it is referred to as devon, and in Western Australia as polony.

Another uniquely South Australian word is "stobie pole", which is the pole used to support power and telephone lines. It was invented in South Australia by James Stobie in 1924.

Cornish miners represented another significant wave of early immigrants, and they contributed Cornish language words, such as wheal (mine), which is preserved in many place names.

South Australian dialects also preserve other British English usages which do not occur elsewhere in Australia: for example, farmers use reap and reaping, as well as "harvest" and "harvesting".


Trap–bath Split

In Australian English, pronunciations vary regionally according to the type of vowel that occurs before the sounds nd, ns, nt, nce, nch, and mple, and the pronunciation of the suffix "-mand". In words like "chance", "plant", "branch", "sample" and "demand", the vast majority of Australians use the short /æ/ vowel from the word "cat". In South Australia however there is a high proportion of people who use the broad /aː/ vowel from the word "cart" in these words. For example, a survey of pronunciation in different cities found that 86% of those surveyed in Adelaide pronounced graph with an /aː/, whereas 100% of those surveyed in Hobart and 70% of those surveyed in Melbourne used /æ/.

Because of the prevalence of the South Australian long a, the South Australian accent appears to be closer to Cultivated Australian English than other state dialects.

"L" Vocalisation

The tendency for some /l/ sounds to become vowels (/l/ vocalisation) is more common in South Australia than other states. "Hurled", for example, in South Australia has a semi vocalised /l/, leading to the pronunciation "herwld", whereas in other states the /l/ is pronounced as a consonant. The "l" is semi vocalised; for example, "milk" sounds like "miuwlk" and "hill" sounds like "hiwl".[4] A back allophone of /ʉː/, [ʊː]

See also


  1. ^ ABC Wordmap
  2. ^ , 28 February 2004, "South Australian Words"Lingua FrancaABC Radio National,
  3. ^ Stubbs, Dr Brett J. "Take a butcher’s hook at the butcher glass". Australian Brews News. Cuneiform Pty Ltd. Retrieved 13 January 2015. 
  4. ^ Dorothy Jauncey, Bardi Grubs and Frog Cakes — South Australian Words, Oxford University Press (2004) ISBN 0-19-551770-9

External links

  • "Dorothy Jauncey, 2004, "South Australia—'Kind of Different'?"
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.